7 easy tips to taking a great passport photo

Never be embarrassed of your ID again! Learn how to take a good passport photo or photo id picture every time. Take better pictures with these 7 easy tips.

In preparation for my up coming Europe trip, today I set out to get my passport photos done. Fed up with always being ashamed of my photo ID’s, today I was determined to take a photo that was a respectable representation of myself! After taking a little extra time to prep and prepare, I’m proud to say for the first time in my life, I actually don’t hate my passport photo! So to share the love, I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that help me get camera ready!


Tips on how to take a good passport photo:

  1. Prepare yourself: Take a little extra time to apply make up and groom yourself. Get a hair cut beforehand if you need to, and don’t forget to tweeze those brows too.
  2. Wear neutral make up: Whether your photo is in color or black and white, colorful makeup can often look garish and unflattering.
  3. Wear your hair down: Consider wearing your hair down, it’s typically more flatter and frames your face better for these types of photos.
  4. Plan what to wear: I find collared shirts and blouses always come out well. Stay away from clothes that are loose fitting, they tend to look sloppy in photographs. If you have dark hair, wear a light coloured shirt and vice versa.
  5. Keep it professional: Remember that you might use the passport photo for many different purposes, such as job applications or official documents, so make sure you dress accordingly.
  6. Use mattifying face powder: Even if you don’t have particularly oily skin, sometimes the flash of the camera can create a shiny t-zone.
  7. Practice with selfies: This is the tip of all tips! Taking selfies give you good idea on how your makeup and hair will turn up on camera. Plus you can practice your expression, smize for the camera!

Have any tips of your own to share on taking great photos?
Let me know in the comments below!

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38 comments so far.

38 responses to “7 easy tips to taking a great passport photo”

  1. Hey Girl! This is something I can definitely weigh in on, since my day job involves taking passport photos! Here are some massively important tips:

    Wearing white/ivory is a no-no. It will 95% be rejected for lack of contrast between background and your shirt. Those of us with long dark hair might get away with this.

    While they accept both colour and black and white for Canadian passports – I will 100% always recommend colour. It gives a depth to the face that is so much more flattering, and again passport Canada seems to accept them way easier.

    As you mentioned the blotting powder is great, but also stay away from super shiny lip gloss, it creates a white flash back that can cause your picture to be rejected.

    If you have hair that very easily falls in your eyes, make sure you can style it a way that day that it doesn’t, that is instant rejection. Also – no visible hair clips or headbands are accepted (unless it is a scarf for religious reasons.

    And finally – practise before if you are the type who particularly cares what your passport looks like. Don’t wait until you get there and then try and make the photographer take 10 shots until you get one you like. Because I hate to say it, you wont love it. I’ve been taking them for over 10 years and no one ever says “oh I love it!” because you can’t smile in Canadian passports. As a passport photographer, we actually have very strict guidelines we legally and professionally have to follow, so we aren’t there to take a glamour shot of you. Come prepared and ready 🙂

  2. Very practical. I hate my passport picture too so I will follow these tips next time.

  3. Caroline says:

    These are genius! You look beautiful in your pics.
    xo
    styleontheside.com

  4. Jaz says:

    Great Tips! I am getting a passport soon… I am sure mine would have been horriable without these tips!

  5. Yeah – practice is definitely important ( Passport photos are ones I hate the most, LOL) I feel like I’m being rushed or something lol…

  6. Robin Rue says:

    Those are great tips! I am very happy with my passport photo. My license picture is another story, though.

  7. Catherine S says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I wish I had these before I got my passport. My picture is really bad.

  8. Delia @ Happy Blogger Plaza says:

    These are some great tips! Oy, those official photos (passport or other) never come out great, haha!

  9. Courtney says:

    Hahahaha love these tips!!! I actually have a fabulous passport photo somehow so I use that thing as id instead of my god awful license lol….

  10. Great tips! I need to get my passport updated soon and have been dreading taking the new photo. I always look horrible in these photos!

  11. Thanks for the great tips! I can’t wait to get my passport picture done now 😀

  12. Carra D says:

    Great tips. Thank for sharing. When I got my license a stranger nearby said something funny to me and I smirked. I liked how it came out lol

  13. Mariamichelle117 says:

    Your photo is beautiful. I need to renew my passport in 2015 and I really would love for it to look as nice as yours!

  14. JoAnna Kopp says:

    Very great tips. I wish I went through some efforts to take a better passport photo, but it was after a very long and stressful day. Mine looks more like a mugshot! Your pictures look incredible, though. You look so beautiful and professional!

  15. Brandy says:

    I have never had a passport, these sound like pretty great tips. My biggest concern would be to ensure that my passport looks like me on an average day, because if I were traveling where I would need to use a Passport, I would want to make sure that the photo looked similar to me.

  16. Franc Ramon says:

    I guess the passport photo would be your business card to the world. It would be important to look prim and proper in your passport photos.

  17. Debra Needles says:

    Those are some great ideas. I would never have thought of practicing with selfies!

  18. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I hate my passport photo and wish I had these tips before I was stuck with my latest photo for 5 years. I am going to use your tips when I get my new photo this summer.

  19. Dawn says:

    I sure could have used these tips a few months ago. My husband and I just got our passports made for our cruise!

  20. Elizabeth O. says:

    I look so awful in my passport! I wish I prepared more before my picture was taken.

  21. Kiwi says:

    Im getting my passport soon definitely loving the tips especially about the clothing. I forgot about its multiple usage for jobs and extra identification purposes.

  22. Fi Ni Neachtain says:

    Great tips! I quite like my passport photo, it’s in black and white and everyone looks good in black and white I think! 🙂

  23. Freya says:

    Great tips. I will definitely use these tips next time I need my passport photo taken cause they always look terrible.

  24. Mama to 5 Blessings says:

    I never knew you were not allowed to smile for passport photo’s. I heard recently that someone had a faint smile in their passport and they were not allowed to get into another country. Crazy!

  25. Those are great tips for passport photos! In Canada, we are not allowed to smile for our passport photo though, which I dislike 🙂

  26. Lisa Bristol says:

    These are great tips to taking a great photo. I always hate how my pictures turn out on my licence and passport. I will have to follow your tips the next time i have the photos taken.

  27. Krystal says:

    Good idea for your photos! neutral make up is a good idea!

  28. Patranila says:

    I used all of these tips in the last government ID photo I took. All except the selfies. They didn’t exist then!

  29. These are some great tips. I don’t think I’ll have to get a passport ever but I’ll keep these in mind.

  30. Barbie Ritzman says:

    I so agree with the practicing selfie’s. It really helps! And thanks for the comment below on the wearing white!

  31. mail4rosey says:

    Smart tips. The one to dress professional is great, because you’re right we do use it for more than just travel.

  32. Victoria H says:

    Thanks for these tips. I don’t have a passport yet but these tips will definitely come in handy when I go to get one.

  33. Nile Flores says:

    Actually… don’t practice selfies. It’s not formal picture that isn’t suppose to be for smiles. Passports actually have specific guidelines and they really also would like you to not wear glasses. At least that is what I’ve always read in the fine print given by the postmaster when I’ve gone to renew my passport.

  34. Chrissy says:

    This is a great idea! It would also work with driver license photos as well!

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